Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Riddle and Mystery: A Program on the Big Questions for Grade 6

Activity 3: WCUU - Brain Art

Activity time: 23 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Microphone(s), video camera(s) and tripod(s), real or simulated
  • For studio set
    • Backdrop made in Session 1
    • Painter's tape or masking tape
  • Leader Resource 2, WCUU Script - Brain Art
  • Handout 2, Three-Course Meal
  • Color pencils or fine-point markers; masking tape or push-pins
  • Paper for On-Air People's name cards, markers and string or tape
  • Timepiece
  • A copy of the Unitarian Universalist Principles and Sources (Session 1, Leader Resource 1, or a poster in your meeting space)
  • Optional: Music player for theme song (see Session 1)
  • Optional: Studio lights (flashlights will do)

Preparation for Activity

  • Plan how you will time this two-part WCUU activity. Part 1 involves a discussion and a drawing activity. Make sure you reserve at least ten minutes for Part 2, the WCUU broadcast.
  • Retrieve real or simulated television studio equipment, backdrop made in Session 1 and other WCUU materials.
  • If necessary, arrange furniture, set up and test equipment and post backdrop. Identify an area, within "reach" of the video camera, where youth can hold up their Brain Art or a wall where you can display their work as a gallery. If you plan to record WCUU:
  • Make sure electrical outlets are nearby if you will need them.
  • Pay attention to lighting. Do not set On-Air People in front of a sunlit window.
  • If you are using on-camera microphones, direct On-Air People to speak toward the camera. Invite the Director or Floor Director to use the phrase "Quiet on the Set... Rolling... " followed by a silent countdown from five, using the fingers of one hand, ending with pointing to the On-Air Person to cue them to begin speaking.
  • Copy Leader Resource 2 for everyone who will need a script for the broadcast. This script has three On-Air people-two Co-Anchors and a NUUs (pronounced "News") Analyst-who can interview any number of other youth about their art work. If the group is small, co-leaders can be Studio Crew; if the group is large, the Studio Crew might include a director, a floor director, a camera operator, a sound engineer, a lighting director, a script supervisor and multiple production assistants.
  • Copy Handout 2 for all participants.

Description of Activity

This WCUU activity has two parts. In Part 1, lead a group discussion about how Unitarian Universalists know right from wrong and invite the youth to prepare art work, for a WCUU art show, which shows what they plan to "feed" their brains to strengthen moral and ethical decision making. In Part 2, the WCUU broadcast, two Co-Anchors and a NUUs Analyst talk about conscience, then visit the art show and interview some of the artists.

Part 1: Lead a discussion to bring youth to an understanding of the term "conscience"-what it is, what it does and how it develops in its ability to know right from wrong. You may use these ideas and questions:

  • The study of right and wrong is called ethics.
  • Governments have laws about what you can do and what you cannot do. Schools have rules, and so do families. Rules are often in place to help us know right from wrong. But, rules are not always 100 percent ethically, morally right.
  • People often join a religion which offers ethical rules that seem right to them. Unitarian Universalism, like many other religions, has a lot to say about ethics. Do you see anything in this room that can help people decide what is right and what is wrong? (UU Principles, UU Sources, and possibly a group covenant; youth may suggest adults in the room, or one another)
  • Is there anything inside you that can help you decide what is right or wrong? (Your brain, your conscience, what the monk in the story called "his inner teacher." Have you ever thought you were doing something okay and then had a sinking feeling inside that it really was not okay? That is your conscience speaking. Your conscience is something you can exercise if you listen to what it says. If you listen, it will give you an inner sense of whether you are doing something right or something wrong.)
  • How do you think your conscience knows what is right and what is wrong? How do you think people can strengthen their conscience?
  • You can help your body grow strong by feeding it the right foods. Can you help your conscience grow strong by feeing it the right ethical ideas?

Suggest that Unitarian Universalists rely heavily on our consciences to know right from wrong in a given situation. We need to nurture our consciences with guidelines that we find in our UU Principles, our understanding of the Golden Rule and in teachings from our other UU Sources. Say:

Today's WCUU broadcast will feature an art show. On display will be brain art which you will draw now. Imagine that you are going to feed your conscience a three-course meal of ethical ideas. What ideas, what food will you choose? That is up to you.

Distribute Handout 2 and put out drawing materials. Give the group five minutes or so to work, repeating the ideas about where to look for "food," as needed. Tell them the art need not be fancy-time is limited, and you are more interested in the ideas the art shows than in what it looks like. Say they may use words, as needed, but should try to let pictures tell the story.

Have participants attach their completed artwork to a wall.

Part 2: With about ten minutes remaining, begin the WCUU broadcast, which involves three key on-air people-Co-Anchor 1, Co-Anchor 2 and a NUUs Analyst. Other members of the group will appear in the show as artists and display their Brain Art. The Studio Crew might include a director, a floor director, a camera operator, a sound engineer, a lighting director, a script supervisor and multiple production assistants.

Assign roles, using volunteers. You might invite the Kid for the Day to be a Co-Anchor. Give participants who need to follow the script a moment to look it over. Review the script with the youth if any may have limited reading skills.

Tell the group when the show should end to keep the session on schedule; assign a Studio Crew member (director or floor director) to watch the time.

Begin the broadcast.

At the end of the broadcast, ask participants how it went. Ask them to summarize how typical UUs respond to today's Big Question: How can I know right from wrong? Do they think non-UU viewers would understand Unitarian Universalism better after seeing it? Do they have any new ideas about their conscience, and knowing right from wrong?

Including All Participants

If any youth have limited mobility, arrange the "studio" so they can participate on camera while seated.